Residents and health and care staff across Sussex can now receive their COVID-19 immunisations at the Brighton Centre after it officially opened today (Monday 25 January) as the largest vaccination centre in the county.
The service is by appointment only with vaccinations delivered by teams from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), the largest provider of community services in Sussex.
The focus for the Centre on its first day will be delivering the vaccine to frontline health and care staff. This will be followed by eligible residents living within 60 miles of the Brighton Centre from Tuesday. They are being written to directly by the NHS and invited to book an appointment. At present the NHS is ensuring that the over 80s are vaccinated before extending invitations to the next priority age groups.
Appointments cannot be booked directly with the Brighton Centre and residents are asked not to contact the centre or Brighton and Hove City Council directly.
This large-scale vaccination centre is in addition to the local GP-led vaccination services that now cover all patients in Sussex. People who receive a letter inviting them to book an appointment at the vaccination centre can choose to wait to be contacted by their local GP-led vaccination service if that would be more convenient.
People who attend a vaccination appointment at the centre can park for free in Churchill Square’s Orange Car Park for one hour. They must show proof of their appointment to the car park wardens in the car park as they enter.
As well as the vaccination centres, teams from SCFT are also providing a mobile service, delivering the vaccine to care home residents and staff across the county, and will also support the vaccination of vulnerable people who are housebound.
Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive of Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Setting up the Brighton Centre has been a phenomenal challenge for our teams and I want to pay tribute to each and every member of SCFT staff who has worked tirelessly as part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
“From the recruitment and training of hundreds of new members of staff, to the logistics of transforming this entertainment venue to a vaccination centre, our teams have been working around the clock to make sure we are in a position to get this vaccination centre up and running for the communities we serve. At the same time, our teams are delivering the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes, supporting GPs at GP-led vaccination sites and we will also support the vaccination of vulnerable, housebound residents over the coming weeks as well.
“We’ve never undertaken anything of this scale before and in a year when the NHS has risen to so many challenges I am, once again, so proud and humbled by the incredible efforts of SCFT staff.”
The Brighton Centre will offer appointments 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and could deliver up to 3,000 vaccinations a day (subject to the supply of vaccines).
In November, the Trust launched an intensive four week recruitment campaign for additional vaccinators to support the programme which attracted more than 2000 applications. Hundreds of existing clinical staff have also stepped forward to help
Vaccination Centres are another part of the COVID-19 Vaccination programme, working alongside GP led vaccination services and hospital hubs.
While GPs invite their patients to get vaccinated at their local vaccination service, appointments at the vaccination centres are made through the national booking service.
The national booking service writes to eligible people, living within 60 miles of a vaccination centre, inviting them to book an appointment at the centre online or over the phone. The letter contains all the details people will need to book their appointment.
Anyone receiving a letter from the national booking service can choose whether to book an appointment at the vaccination centre, or wait until they are contacted by their GP for an appointment at their local vaccination service if that would be more convenient.
Donna Lamb, Chief Nurse at SCFT, said:
“We are so proud to be able to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme across Sussex.
“Our trained vaccinators, supported by amazing volunteers, are on hand to help patients who attend our centres and we look forward to vaccinating many more people in the coming weeks which will make a huge difference to the communities we serve.
“I would encourage anyone who is invited for a vaccination to take it.”
Allison Cannon, Chief Nursing Officer for the Sussex NHS Commissioners, said:
“The opening of the vaccination centre is fantastic for the people of Sussex and is another big positive step as we work to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. We have already made very good progress in a short period of time across Sussex and are on course to vaccinate the first four priority cohorts by mid-February, in line with the national target.
“The increased capacity the new centre brings will allow us to accelerate the numbers we are able to vaccinate further and offers another way in which people who are eligible can receive their jab as soon as possible.”